Zeenat Moorad Associate editor: Financial Mail

Another day, another department store on the brink of bust. Plans have been finalised for Debenhams to be handed over to its lenders. Its history dates back to 1778, when it sold bonnets, gloves and parasols in London’s West End. Debenhams’ decline into retail obscurity has been dramatic. It joined the stock market for the third time in 2006, valued at £1.7bn. The company, now worth just over £22m, has shored up a £720m debt pile. Last week Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Debenhams’ credit rating to Ca, the second-lowest junk grade, reserved for companies "in or very near default". The shares were suspended early on Tuesday. As with many limping companies, private-equity ownership ultimately hastened Debenhams’ demise. The company was also slow to react to changes in shopping habits and so, like many of its High Street peers, it fell prey to increasing pressure as people began to shop online, visiting stores less and less. Like many legacy retailers, it is locked into onerous r...

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